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SPORTS WEEKEND

Southland Focus

September 05, 1997|PETE THOMAS, 11 handicap

A weekly look at golf courses open to the public in Southern California.

Malibu Country Club

Address: 901 Encinal Canyon Rd., Malibu.

Phone: (818) 889-6680.

Green fees: $50-$75, cart included.

Tee times: 10 days in advance.

The facility: One of the Southland's more secluded courses, nestled amid total wilderness in the Santa Monica Mountains about halfway between the coast and the Ventura Freeway. Malibu, designed by William Francis Bell, who also designed Sandpiper and Torrey Pines, opened in 1977 and remains a secret gem of sorts for longtime regulars.

The good: This well-manicured track has no signature hole to speak of because every hole is challenging in a different way. The par-five third from an elevated tee, the par-three seventh over water and the downhill par-four 18th are among many picturesque holes. Greens are tricky and fast. No fivesomes, and only those playing to a 10 handicap or lower are allowed to play from the much-more-difficult blue tees.

The bad: The driving range is more like a batting cage. You hit into a net with a cliff immediately behind it. To maintain the off-fairway landscape, marshals strictly enforce a course rule that mandates you take a drop from lateral hazards, even if you find your ball.

The score: There are basically no homes or other buildings in sight, and no urban noise. The only disruptions comes from the occasional deer crossing the fairway. This merely adds to the enjoyment of playing one of the classiest public courses around.

*

Overall rating: 3 1/2 balls.

* One ball: Like an X on the scorecard.

** Two balls: Worth an occasional round.

*** Three balls: Like shooting four strokes under your handicap.

**** Four balls: Where the Publinx Golf Gods play.

*--*

Hole Chcp Blue Tees Regular White Tees M/W Par Ladies' Red Tees 1 398 364 4 346 2 357 338 4 296 3 413 377 4 344 4 488 472 5 415 5 236 204 3 136 6 476 435 5 391 7 194 172 3 153 8 349 326 4 262 9 378 343 4 313 Out 3,289 3,031 36 2,656 10 412 391 4 370 11 369 337 4 322 12 193 162 3 145 13 504 487 5 467 14 444 419 4 386 15 158 135 3 118 16 366 346 4 273 17 463 448 5 417 18 433 400 4 369 In 3,342 3,125 36 2,867 Total 6,631 6,156 72 5,523

*--*

Rating/Slope: Blue--72.3/130, White--69.3/121, Red--71.4/120

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